Discrimination against women is a reality of our society - Vanita Keswani, CEO Madison Media Sigma - Madison World
Passionate about strategic media planning and insights as well as driving media buying for diverse categories, and with more than 20 years of experience working with Times of India, and Times FM, currently Vanita Keswani is leading the Madison Media Sigma unit in Mumbai as CEO.
During her extensive professional journey, Vanita has donned various roles in various offices and today heads a large portfolio of clients including Raymond, Piramal, McDonald’s, Shaadi.com, Pidilite, Indian Oil, Lodha, DHFL, Omkar and many others. Vanita is known to bring solidity to a diverse portfolio and has driven consistent client value.
Over more than 25 years of her career, Vanita has witnessed the attention span of consumers shrinking. There has been an immense fragmentation of media vehicle options to reach consumers. Her career spans across both media selling and buying sides, which has given her a wholistic picture of the media demand-supply dynamics as well as an understanding of multiple target groups and mediums.
At Apeksha Sandesh, we had an opportunity for an insightful conversation with Vanita Keswani. Here are the excerpts!
How do you think media and marketing communication sector will change in the next five years?
The media sector has already seen unprecedented shifts in consumer behaviour, triggered by the pandemic. Digitization has touched our lives across all spheres and become the 2nd lead medium after television. In next 5 years, besides digital growth continuing to surpass television, smarter ways of targeting consumers through other mediums will also accelerate.
What do you see as some of the challenges faced by women in PR and media space in today’s times?
The main challenge faced by women in PR & Media space is the late working hours. There are apprehensions attached to women working late in this field, especially on the agency side, as advertising and media is very dynamic and client briefs often come last minute with tight deadlines.
What is your opinion about the women being represented in the media, films, and pop culture?
My opinion about women representation in media is that it is not just a media issue. It all starts with our mindset and behavioral stereotypes being broken right from home.
‘Work from home’ and ‘flexible work schedule’ are new trends. What is your take on it in terms of women employees?
Work from home and flexible work schedule allows all of us to multi-task. If women continue to handle the lion’s share of domestic responsibility, on one hand it gives her flexibility to manage both work and home better, but on the other hand, it blurs the work-home line and puts extra pressure on women.
After achieving so much success in your field, what are the three most important things you’d still like to accomplish?
There are 3 things that I would like to accomplish – first would be applying professional healing to business to help attract abundance of clients and employee resources through energy alignment.
Second would be being on the board of a company that would give me an opportunity to put my learnings to use in a larger sense. And third would be to cultivate my creative passions i.e., art and music to a new high.
In your opinion, what will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?
For the generation of women behind us, I see productivity challenge as they may not be able to control the work from home distractions. Humans are social creatures and with rising technology addiction and more work from home, anxiety and stress may be an emerging challenge.
You are also a certified healing practitioner. Tell us something about this aspect of your personality.
Healing means wholeness. Wholeness at work means seeing your workplace and the lives of your employees and clients in it as one. As a certified healer, I have an innate humane character where I see the potential in every person and believe in being fair to all.
What do you consider the most underrated virtue of a woman?
Indian women have 2 distinct qualities – flexibility and dedication.
When we talk about flexibility, women leave their homes and adapt to become part of a new family. At workplace, they are more adept at more human interactions and managing personalities. And when it comes to dedication, I feel Indian women have an intrinsic nature of putting the other person ahead of them. We have seen mothers put family ahead of themselves. So, when they take up a professional role also, they do put the company before them and assume greater responsibility.
Do you think Women’s Day should be celebrated? Why?
‘Women’s day’ puts women in a special group which I personally don’t see the need for. However, since discrimination against women is a reality of our society, more so in small towns, we do need to work 24x7 across 365 days, to do whatever is necessary to clear pathways for women who are being discriminated, to build better lives including careers that they cherish.
Apeksha Sandesh congratulates Vanita Keswani for her contribution and commitment in the field of media. We wish her good luck for all her future endeavours!